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Being a massive book nerd, I could hardly go to New Zealand’s South Island and not check out Hokitika—setting for Eleanor Catton’s 2013-Man-Booker-Prize-winning novel The Luminaries. It’s a great little town, and if you’re driving to the west coast from Christchurch as we were, don’t stop for the night in Greymouth as we did, keep driving the extra 40kms to Hokitika.
The former goldrush town wouldn’t be that remarkable today if not for its beach: black sand, dark rock and forests of driftwood. It was like nothing either of us had ever seen.